Kristin Wetzler, one of Bread for the World's Hunger Justice Leaders in 2008, was featured in 435 South: The Magazine of South Johnson County, a magazine that serves some of the communities in suburban Kansas City. (We've blogged about Kristin before, and we are happy to have this new opportunity to brag about our niece.)
The article, entitled Hope By Design, describes Kristin's work with Swaziland Arts for Education (S.A.F.E.), the nonprofit organization she built upon her return from serving with the Peace Corps in Swaziland. S.A.F.E. provides opportunities for Swazi women (and some men) to sell handmade crafts (including batiks, paintings and bowls) and home accents in the U.S., and the proceeds are used to provide educational opportunities for Swazi children. Click here for examples of the art for sale.
Here are some excerpts of the article:
Some people look at art and see beauty, form and function. Kristin Wetzler, founder of Swaziland Arts for Education (S.A.F.E.), sees art as a currency to purchase a chance at life for impoverished children.(The author of the piece is Britt Frank. And that great photograph was taken by Paul Versluis)
Wetzler’s voice grows impassioned as she describes how most families cannot afford the school fees, since the annual income is less than $2,500 per year. Without education, Wetzler says Swaziland will continue its vicious-circle struggle with poverty, disease and hopelessness.
“I’d go to the local market while I was in the Peace Corps and see all the art,” Wetzler explains. “I thought the batiks were beautiful, inexpensive and easy to ship. So I thought ‘what if,’ started dreaming out loud to friends, and decided to send them home to sell.